The best part about being a portrait studio photographer is I can control the creativity in my concepts. As an event photographer, I have to wait and be there at the right moment to capture the image – no second chances. More often, I’m enjoying creating the moment rather than waiting, and hoping, the moment will happen.
To ensure the concepts are realized and the look is genuine, it’s important to work with talented models. An insincere smile or eyes that lack emotion can ruin your shot. Make no mistake, modeling is acting. Telling my models how to stand with verbal cues can be confusing for a model to understand. Visual signals are a much better way to communicate how I want a model to pose.
I prefer to embarrass myself by going on set and posing to show the model exactly what I’m looking for. I look ridiculous when I do it, but when the model mimics me, he or she looks great. I’m always impressed when a model can hold an expression or portray a character so convincingly. Once the model has a good starting point I come back to the camera and continue to use subtle visual cues as needed.
Having said this, some of my best portraits have been captured in those moments between frames when the model thought I wasn’t shooting and relaxed their “pose face” or glanced/laughed off camera. Watch for these moments. They are gold.